TIA Elects New Board Chairman

John Gessert, president and chief executive officer of the Michigan-based toy company American Plastic Toys has been elected to serve as chairman of the Toy Industry Association’s board of directors for a two-year term.

Gessert joined the TIA board in 2009, previously serving as secretary-treasurer and vice-chair. He succeeds Soren Torp Laursen, president, LEGO Systems.

“As the leader of a small, Midwestern toy company, we believe that John well represents the voice of TIA’s 750-plus members–the majority of whom are small- to mid-sized businesses,” says Carter Keithley, president and chief executive officer, Toy Industry Association. 

Gessert joined American Plastic Toys in 1984, first working in sales and operations. He served as executive vice president of the company from 1998 until 2003, when he was named president and CEO.

“It is a great honor and responsibility to be elected chair of the Toy Industry Association,” he says. “I look forward to working with members of the TIA board, the executive staff and the members to further enhance the value of membership for small toy businesses and young toy professionals, grow the global reputation of TIA’s trade events and promote the very important charitable work of the industry.”

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